* This final burst of bile will do it for the week…
There’s a fortune inside your head
All you touch turns to lead
You think you might just crawl back in bed
With the fortune inside your head
You know you’re just a mama’s boy
* Several state employees have forwarded me a letter they received from Gov. Pat Quinn…
Dear State Employees,
I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for your exceptional work during this difficult time. The everyday workers of state government deserve a salute - because you are the true embodiment of public service.
As your governor, I pledge an open and fair state government worthy of being called the Land of Lincoln. I vow to restore your faith in government and will work tirelessly everyday to make you proud to be a citizen and employee of this great state.
In the coming days, we will face some tough choices. I am confident that by working together we will meet these challenges to emerge a much stronger and vibrant state.
I believe our state’s best days are ahead. I welcome your help and support as we work together in behalf of the people of Illinois.
That’s quite a stark departure from the recent past. Rod Blagojevich regularly expressed his disdain for state employees. The workers who have sent me the e-mail were astonished and quite overjoyed at the sentiment expressed by Quinn.
* A few minutes ago, I received this press release from AFSCME…
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will speak to members of the largest union of state employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, at the union’s annual legislative conference tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 31) morning in Springfield.
AFSCME endorsed Blagojevich in 2002, but the union had a stormy relationship with him ever since. I’ll bet Quinn gets a nice reception tomorrow.
* When the cameras were on, Rod Blagojevich said he’d never resign, and wouldn’t even consider the matter. It was a different story when the cameras were off, however…
Contrary to public statements he’s made, Rod Blagojevich contemplated resigning as governor shortly before the Illinois Senate voted to boot him from office.
“He wanted to step aside, but he didn’t reach out to anybody” in state government, Blagojevich’s estranged father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), told the Chicago Sun-Times today in his first public comments since Blagojevich’s impeachment conviction.
Mell was reacting to a report in the Capitol Fax newsletter this morning that quoted anonymous sources saying that on Thursday — after the governor made his closing argument to the Senate in Springfield — Mell called Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to relay a message that Blagojevich wanted to resign before a vote to oust him could be held.
Actually, I wrote that an “official close to Senate President John Cullerton” was contacted. [Adding: The Sun-Times has corrected its copy to reflect what I wrote. Thanks much to them.]
And I stand by my story.
* But the broader point is that after the governor said this to the Senate yesterday…
“Now, if I felt I did something wrong, I would have resigned in December. If I felt I had violated a law, I would meet my responsibilities, I would have resigned in December. I wouldn’t put my family through this, I wouldn’t put you through this and, most importantly, I wouldn’t put people, the people of Illinois, through this. But I didn’t resign then and I’m not resigning now because I have done nothing wrong.”
* They might move the primary back to March, where it once was, but political types have always been leery of a late-year primary. It’s just a whole lot easier to control turnout in the early months…
Gov. Pat Quinn said today he wants state lawmakers to push back the state’s primary election from February to September in an effort to shorten the campaign season.
Standing outside his Capitol office, Quinn said the state’s lengthy campaign season breeds corruption because of the constant pressure for candidates to raise money.
“This should be a year of reform, a year of governance,” Quinn said. “We don’t need perpetual campaigns and perpetual campaign fund raising in Illinois.” […]
Lawmakers moved the primary from March to February in 2007 in an effort to boost Barack Obama’s efforts to get to the White House. Other states, including New York, shorten the time between the primary and general election with the idea of cutting down the length of campaign season.
* We have a new statewide poll from Research 2000. The poll was conducted 1/26-28 for Daily Kos, a Democratic website. R2K does good work, however, so don’t rule out these numbers. 600 likely voters. MoE +/-4% for the general election and +/-5% for party primary questions.
Lots of room for movement by anybody. As Dan Hynes found out during his 2004 US Senate bid, down-ballot constitutionals are just not well known in Illinois. That may help explain Giannoulias’s low showing. An Obama endorsement would help immeasurably, but we just don’t know yet what the big guy is gonna do.
Even-Steven favorable/unfavorable for Burris is not a good thing.
* Now, onto the Republican primary…
Quite high unfavorables for Kirk. Still, something to look at further.
…Adding… Strange that more people have an opinion of Kirk than of Burris.
* General election head-to-heads…
Burris (D) 37
Kirk (R) 30
Burris (D) 38
Roskam (R) 25
Schakowsky (D) 36
Kirk (R) 30
Schakowsky (D) 37
Roskam (R) 25
Giannoulias (D) 38
Kirk (R) 30
Giannoulias (D) 38
Roskam (R) 25
These are basic hardcore party ID numbers at this point, with Kirk doing a tiny bit better than Roskam on that front. But it goes to show you that even with the Blagojevich craziness, the uproar over the Burris appointment and the refusal to hold a special election, the Republicans have an uphill climb in this state.
Newly minted Gov. Pat Quinn’s first executive order will be to establish the Illinois Reform Commission as an official state body under the governor’s office, he said this morning.
Quinn set up the commission before former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s impeachment and conviction. But he said today that his executive order is intended to send a message to the people of Illinois “that we understand integrity is No. 1 in the Land of Lincoln.”
“Today is a beginning, a start,” he said at a press conference in Springfield. “We are going to fumigate state government from top to bottom to make sure there’s no corruption.”
The commission will have recommendations ready within 100 days, he said.
Just called Quinn’s office–they answered “Lieutenant Governor Pat Qu…Governor Quinn’s office! GOVERNOR Quinn!”
It’ll take a while to get used to that, I’m sure.
[ *** End of Updates *** ]
* Gov. Quinn is holding a press conference as I write this. He promised a major announcement today. Details to follow, but he’s been hitting the radio circuit today…
Newly minted Gov. Pat Quinn ducked a question about whether he will run for the office in 2010 but said he will push for a constitutional amendment that would give voters the ability to recall elected officials.
“I believe in recall, have for 33 years,” he told WGN radio host John Williams, noting that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had opposed the idea. He said he was hopeful of getting a measure on a statewide ballot in the near future.
As for whether he would seek election to the post to which he was elevated Thursday with the impeachment conviction of his predecessor, Quinn said: “I don’t think we need a lot of politics. There’s plenty of time for running for office next year. This has to be a year of reform.”
Quinn said he would be busy on his first full day as governor and that his job is to “mend the flaws” in state government. He pledged to work with lawmakers and other state officials as a team to get the job done.
* The full text of his press conference last night is here…
Q: What about exempt state employees, two or three thousand, do they need to worry now? Will you review everybody?
A: Yeah, I think…if you’re an employee, public or private, you’re always going to be under review. If you’re not doing a good job, then you should be, you know, concerned. But if you are doing a good job, being diligent, that’s what we’re looking for.
Q: Will you review everybody, or are there certain classes of folks that you think will be gone?
A: I haven’t looked at any of that, but I think they’ll be a thorough review over the next month or two to make sure that state government works for the people who pay the taxes. […]
Q: Let’s talk about your frugality. That’s something you’re proud of, isn’t it?
A: Well, I am proud of being frugal, I’m a VIP member at Super 8 (shows card to laughter) and I moved up from Motel 6. I think being frugal is useful, but I am very generous, I think everybody will tell you that I’m generous to a fault. […]
Q: Did you make a mistake by not speaking out in 2006?
A: I was a pretty loud speaker for recall. I was for recall for 33 years. I think this may be the moment for recall.
* Perhaps we shouldn’t make too much of this, but $100,000 sure seems an awful lot of legal bills for a guy who says he’s really a whistleblower…
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) spent $100,000 on legal expenses one week after it became clear that he was listed in Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) arrest documents as “Senate Candidate No. 5,” according to Federal Election Commission documents.
Jackson paid Chicago attorney James Montgomery $100,000 from his campaign account in one lump-sum payment on Dec. 18. The payment represents a very large amount — nearly one-tenth of what Jackson raised last cycle.
Jackson is widely believed to be “Senate Candidate No. 5,” who is mentioned in Blagojevich’s arrest documents.
Transcripts indicate the former two-term governor said an “emissary” for “Senate Candidate No. 5″ had promised to raise $1 million for Blagojevich if the candidate was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama following his victory in the U.S. presidential election.
“I never sent a message or an emissary to the governor to make an offer, plead my case or propose a deal about a U.S. Senate seat, period,” Jackson said at the time.
* This quote from today’s New York Times probably sums up Rod Blagojevich’s bizarre attempts at denial better than anything I’ve ever seen…
“We should have been more selfish, not selfless,” he said. “It sounds probably perverse for me to say that based on what some people are saying about me. But it’s true. My family, we didn’t take advantage of all these things that people do.”
The worst part is the NY Times printed that quote without any context.
This morning, Rod Blagojevich embarks on a new life. He is a private citizen now, a man with time on his hands.
Meanwhile, another guy, one who gave young Rod his first job out of law school, is beginning his own new chapter. He’s about to be sent up the river to do some time.
That other guy is Eddie Vrdolyak.
“I don’t have to tell you what they say. You guys are in politics. You know what we have to do to go out and run and run elections . . . those are conversations . . . all of us in politics do in order to run campaigns and try to win elections.”
Those quotes from Blagojevich speech yesterday gently sums up the Vrdolyak style of governance. The harsh reality is that Blagojevich took everything that wasn’t nailed down.
The controversial highway has an $1 billion price tag and would stretch 37 miles through Kane and Kendall Counties—from the Reagan Memorial Tollway (Interstate Highway 88) near Kaneville to Interstate Highway 80 in Grundy County.